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What Makes a Good Waiting Room Experience?

Question

What are the essentials of a great waiting room experience in an outpatient setting?

Answer

We believe these actions are essential to a great waiting room experience and so we call them the five fundamentals of service:

  1. Acknowledge patient by name.
  2. Introduce yourself.
  3. Describe. Let the patient know how to make himself comfortable, and explain who will be calling for him.
  4. Explain delays so the patient understands why he must wait.
  5. Thank the patient for coming.

In addition, seek any questions the patient may have. Collecting them up front is a big win and saves time. Also, remember to update the patient every 15 minutes if there is a delay, explaining why and how much longer. You may also want to call the area the “patient reception area” to reduce focus on wait. Having refreshments available can make a big difference and is usually more important than having a television.

The last component is a pre-call. It reduces anxiety and helps the patient arrive well prepared for the clinical experience.